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Turning to turnip for therapeutic treats

With a high water content and low-calorie count, the consumption of the non-starchy vegetable makes people fuller for a longer period, aiding in weight loss.

Published: 03rd March 2021 05:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2021 05:57 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A few weeks back, Canadian cabinetmaker Damien Allard became the proud owner of three massive, recordbreaking creamy white and purple topped turnips  all of which broke the Guinness record for the world’s heaviest turnip (weighing 22.9 kg, 24.4 kg and 29 kg).

While we are sure that the Quebec resident has quite a lot of cooking to do with the colossal root vegetables, let’s trace how the lesser-known (now record-worthy) cousin of potato, broccoli and Brussel sprouts provides plenty of nutrients while being low in calories.

“The turnip and its leafy greens are not only tasty but also nutritious. However, we seldom find people here adding it as a staple in their meals,” notes Dhanalakshmi R, dietician, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, talking about the underground veggie variant.

Gut health
Available at stores in the local markets and priced anything between Rs 25-Rs 30 (per 500 g), turnips are packed with fibrous goodness and can help in aiding weight loss and relieving intestinal problems. “A cup of raw turnip has about 2.75 g of dietary fibre in it.

This helps reduce pressure and inflammation in the colon,” explains the medical practitioner, adding that the presence of high dietary fibres can also enable making bowel movements easier. “The gut function is important in getting rid of toxins through bile and stool and the properties in turnips aids in maintaining a healthy digestive tract,” she says.

Aids in weight loss
With a high water content and low-calorie count, the consumption of the non-starchy vegetable makes people fuller for a longer period, aiding in weight loss. “A 100 g of turnip has only 1.39 g of carbohydrates. So, it can be consumed by all and especially those who are on a journey to manage their weight,” she says.

Reduces blood pressure
According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, foods containing (read turnips) high dietary nitrates were projected to benefit the health of the blood vessels. “Rich in potassium (about 300 mg), it helps in lowering the body’s blood pressure by releasing sodium from the body. This helps the arteries dilate,” she shares.

For a long time, a healthy intake of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and our star of the day, turnip, have been associated with a lower risk of cancer. Dhanalakshmi supports this link. “The presence of a sulphur-rich compound called sulforaphane, a phytochemical can neutralise toxins. This plays an integral part in promoting anti-cancer activities in the body,” she explains.

Studies of a kind of indole in turnips, arvelxin, also suggest that it blocks pro-inflammatory compounds such as nitric oxide, aiding in reducing inflammation caused by diseases including arthritis, cancer, and high blood pressure.

Immunity booster
“Besides its wide profile of benefits, the vegetable is also rich in vitamin C, which is important for building and maintaining collagen, the component which provides structure to the skin and hair. Consuming an adequate amount of turnips can benefit the immune system and reduce hair loss prompted by iron deficiency.

It can be added twice or thrice in a week in a meal,” she shares. With a crispy, white inner flesh and a fresh, zesty flavour, turnips can be boiled or mashed, shredded or chopped, used as a salad garnish or added to stews and soups.

NUTRITION FACTS OF TURNIP GREENS (PER 100 G)
Calories: 40 Kcals
Protein: 3.12 g
Carbohydrates: 6.16 g Fat: 0.35 g, Fibre: 2.76 g
Potassium: 300 mg

NUTRITION FACTS OF TURNIP ROOT (PER 100 G)
Calories: 21 Kcals
Protein: 1.58 g
Fat: 0.35 g
Fibre: 2.75 g
Carbohydrates: 1.39 g
Water content: 93.1 %
Vitamin C: 64.7 mg

RECIPE

TURNIP GREEN CURRY

INGREDIENTS
Any dal: 2 tbsp
Green chilli: 3-4
Onion: 1 (chopped)
Tomato: 1 (chopped)
Garlic cloves: 6-7 pieces
Tamarind piece
Turnips (root and greens):
As required (chopped)
Salt: To taste
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard, cumin, Asafoetida: As required

METHOD
Pick a dal of your choice, and add two tablespoons of it into a pressure cooker and soak it in water.

Add green chillies, chopped onions, tomato, garlic cloves, tamarind piece and the chopped turnip root
and greens.

Add turmeric and salt to taste. Leave it in the cooker for three to four whistles.

Take a pan and heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, and asafetida and heat the mixture.

Now, add the mixture to the tangy curry for tadka.

Serve hot with rice and/or chapati.



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